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News / Business / Clark County Business

Ridgefield residents riled over Royle Road construction mistakes, delays

City manager says ‘sorry,’ vows errors, delays being corrected

By William Seekamp, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 2, 2023, 5:42pm
3 Photos
Cars snake through a construction zone at the intersection of South Royle Road and South 15th Street in Ridgefield. Residents say it's difficult to drive on, especially at night.
Cars snake through a construction zone at the intersection of South Royle Road and South 15th Street in Ridgefield. Residents say it's difficult to drive on, especially at night. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

RIDGEFIELD — Delays and mistakes on the South Royle Road improvement project in Ridgefield led Steve Stuart, the Ridgefield city manager, to issue a public apology for the star-crossed project’s woes.

“It’s not okay,” he wrote. “I/we are sorry. A social media post can’t be long enough to detail all the reasons for delay and mistakes which have been made. As a team — including both the city and private contractors — they’re being corrected and learned from, and we will do better.”

Stuart shared fault between the city and contractors and did not elaborate on the causes of the delays, but a recently updated frequently asked questions page said that the largest delays stemmed from coordinating with 14 different utility providers to move their overhead lines into a joint utility trench. The page says that many of the utilities wanted to use their own contractors for the work, and some were difficult to get responses from.

A representative for the general contractor on the project, Northwest Construction, told The Columbian that they are not part of the mistakes or delays.

The project is working to make the road safer for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. The work is broken up into three phases; the first phase, which includes the installation of a roundabout, bike lanes and sidewalks, is scheduled to be completed by April 22.

Construction led to the temporary closure of the road that ended in October 2022. Today some parts of the road have flagging and one-way traffic.

A communication coordinator at the city responded to an initial inquiry by sending The Columbian a link to Stuart’s message and directing The Columbian to the project page.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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Columbian staff writer